This is normally a time of year that can be tricky for health with the flu, seasonal allergies, and cold-weather illnesses. With COVID-19, we have added motivation to incorporate immune-boosting strategies into our lives. Empower yourself with simple changes that will do wonders for your overall health and immunity.
Eat your fruits and veggies every day. The old adage “an apple a day” still rings true. Aim for at least five fruits and vegetables a day, but if you can consume more, even better. Choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables will provide you with a diverse microbiome, an important factor in boosting gut health and immunity. It can be easier to accomplish this than you may think - ½ cup of a fruit or vegetable is considered one serving. Try incorporating spinach in your morning smoothie, add mushrooms and peppers to your favorite pasta dish, mix antioxidant-rich berries in your yogurt or enjoy a vitamin C rich orange as a part of your afternoon snack.
Make sleep a priority. Rest is how the body heals to arms its defenses against potential illness. Aim for 7-9 hours each night. To help keep a sleep routine, set a regular bedtime and wake time and stick to it.
Superpower your gut health. To keep your gut health in check, eat a variety of high-fiber foods including whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, root vegetables and fermented foods like sauerkraut and full-fat yogurt. A high-quality probiotic also supports optimal gut and immune health and can give the digestive system a boost.
Aim for daily exercise. Isolation doesn’t mean you have to become sedentary. Get your body moving every day for at least 30 minutes. Whether that is taking a walk outside with the dog, going for a short hike in the woods or getting active indoors through yoga or an online workout class, you’ll feel better and your body will be stronger.
Start a supplement regimen. There are many vitamins and minerals known to support immunity, such as vitamin C and D, Magnesium, Zinc, and Selenium. At the very least, take a daily multivitamin to help boost your immune system.
Reduce stress. These are stressful times, but it’s important to note that chronic stress can wreak havoc on our bodies, particularly our hormones and inflammatory response. This hurts your immunity in the process. There are endless ways to melt stress, the key is finding one that calls to you. Try yoga, meditation, and mindfulness to help combat stress. Limiting screen time and how often you check the news can help too.
The best approach to ensure your nutritional needs are being met is to work with a Registered Dietitian to learn the best supplements and immune-boosting foods that are right for your personal physical needs and requirements. At Pulling Down the Moon, we are offering virtual nutrition consults via phone or video conference and have an online shop with trusted supplements to boost your immunity while sheltering at home.
Author Bio: Robin Miller, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Pulling Down the Moon